About two weeks ago, I (William Loring) had a conversation about the upcoming Tire Rack One Lap of America event with one of my co-workers, wholesale sales specialist, Joe Woodward. Joe has run in the event four times before in his Miata and I briefly asked if he was participating again this year. I let him know that if he needed a co-driver that I'd love the opportunity to participate in this great and grueling event. It just so happened that Joe was in need of a partner and the Street Survivalists team was formed. A few years back, Joe and I were on a four-day trip in Mexico to drive "Baja 100" buggies in an event sponsored by Yokohama Tires, so this wasn't our first time as driver and co-driver.
As a long-time employee of Tire Rack, I've helped run the One Lap Skidpad Challenge many times. While it was fun to help out, it was always a little frustrating to see the drivers head out on their journey and just have to wait for them to return a week later - tired, dirty, laughing and full of stories. It was always in the back of my mind that I'd like to take part in One Lap.
With me getting my chance to participate, our team quickly traveled the first 1,000 miles of the event. And while it went by quickly, there are still over 2,000 miles left to go. We've had some problems along the way that caused us to get to our hotel in Iowa at 2:30 in the morning. Joe's heavily modified 2001 Miata encountered some complications that caused us to avoid using anything in the car that might stress the electrical system. Which meant, no AC, no radio and our GPS is powered by an auxiliary battery. Our team also had a major mechanical issue that caused us to miss one of the track sessions and lose precious points to our competitors.
Even with the trouble, I'm having a great time. The people are fabulous and there are some great cars to watch out on the track: ranging from a Honda CRX HF (which is currently in 11th place overall) to Nissan GTRs, a Ferrari and the meanest looking Honda Odyssey that you've ever seen. There's a camaraderie that is hard to beat. We even had drivers in our own class rush out to meet us along the highway in Oklahoma this morning, bringing us essential parts to fix our broken alternator. These are guys who would stand to gain from our breakdown, but they offered their help instantly, without hesitation!
This event is truly special and I'm grateful to Joe and Tire Rack for giving me the opportunity to take part in it. My back hurts and I'm sleepy, but I'm looking forward to the next 2,000+ miles and the adventure that awaits.